10 String Symphony Echo Milennial Frustration

Read about the new release from duo 10 String Symphony

10 String Symphony – photo Rob Dickens


10 String Symphony

New Release – ‘Generation Frustration’

Out July 13 2018


pre-order link

On July 13, the highly-talented and innovative duo from Nashville 10 String Symphony will release Generation Frustration, produced by Kris Drever of the Scottish band LAU.

Named for their unique instrumentation of two five string fiddles alternated with a five string banjo, 10 String Symphony is the collaboration between Grammy-nominated fiddle player Christian Sedelmyer (The Jerry Douglas Band), and acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman.  Since its inception in 2012, the duo has gained the attention of many for their unique and compelling vocal and string arrangements, which are at once traditionally informed yet completely avant garde.

The new album reportedly digs even deeper into the potential for experimentation with stringed instruments, while highlighting new facets in the pair’s original and beautiful songwriting.  American Songwriter Magazine has premiered the first single, “One Way Telephone”.

It has been an exciting couple of years for Baiman and Sedelmyer, both individually and collaboratively.  Having gained a reputation for string arrangements in Nashville, 10 String Symphony’s unique sound has been enlisted for albums by Kelsey Waldon, Caroline Spence, Special Consensus, and Missy Raines, as well for live strings with Kacey Musgraves at the Ryman Auditorium.  Their tour schedule has included stops in Hong Kong and Australia as well as opening slots for Sarah Jarosz and Sierra Hull.

Sedelmyer spent the better part of 2017 touring with Jerry Douglas and recording on his new album What If, which culminated in a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album this February.  Here is what Jerry Douglas told Listening Through The Lens about Sedelmeyer last year:

“Violinist Christian Sedelmyer came to me in entirely different way. I was involved in a jam to honor Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festval founder Warren Hellman in 2014. This festival that started as a birthday present to his wife by the wonderful philanthropist Mr. Hellman has turned into one of the most attended and enjoyable places on the planet. And it’s free every year on the first weekend of October.

Well I was onstage and this young guy was just ripping the fiddle solos, and I was going, who in the hell is that? I had never seen or heard him before so I made it a point to go straight to him after that set and tell him how great I thought he was. As it turns out, he was there to perform in his duet “10 String Symphony” with partner Rachel Baiman. A Wake Forest accounting graduate, it didn’t take him long to figure out he would rather play the fiddle than add numbers at a Washington DC firm, and he flew.

He has the musical depth of a classical violinist and the old soul of a back porch fiddler from the reaches of a North Carolina holler. He hears the right thing to play in whatever situation he’s painted himself into to escape while making it all sound easy.”

(You can read the whole interview with Jerry HERE).

Baiman released a politically charged solo album Shame (via Free Dirt Records), which took her on tour around the country, including a stop at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and numerous shows opening for Mandolin OrangeShame is a highly impressive outing and featured as a commendation on our best albums list for 2017.   Baiman also put in a fine Official Showcase performance at the Folk Alliance International in Kansas City MO this February as well and we were lucky indeed to enjoy her with Sedelmeyer at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in Australia.

Sedelmyer and Baiman were looking to expand the 10 String Symphony sound in an organic and authentic way, to create an extension of their two musical voices, rather than incorporating new instruments or band members.  “We really wanted to retain the tight knit, duo sound of the collaboration, but we wanted more options sonically. We wanted to be able to express all the sounds we were hearing in our heads” explains Sedelmyer. For this mission, they sought out the talents of Scotland’s Kris Drever.  Drever is one third of experimental folk trio LAU and the 2017 BBC Folk Singer of the year.  With LAU, Drever has launched a formidable exploration of acoustic and electronic sounds, combining the rawness of traditional music with lush electronic soundscapes. “LAU has really explored a new frontier for traditional musicians. They have forced people hear ancient music in a hyper-modern context; it’s incredible” says Baiman.

10 String Symphony traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland in April 2017 to work and arrange with Drever, culminating in ten days recording in Pencaitland’s Castlesound Studios. What emerged was Generation Frustration, a ten track album of original songs giving voice to the helplessness often felt by the Millennial generation with regards to politics, racism, poverty, privilege and a global climate crisis while living under the leadership of political parties that were largely voted in by majorities from older generations.  The political and social division and subsequent collision of generations is exemplified musically through the sound of an acoustic duo layered over modern sounds, a combination of past and present that hits the listener both emotionally and intellectually.

As the title track explains:

“I could write down the facts hard as concrete / scientifically explain the way the heart beats / but I sit here instead with my weapon of choice / the dancing of chords under purposeful voice / for I know it’s not fact but feeling that guides/ decisions we make when it comes to the time/ and I wonder if songs ever reach stubborn minds / can I make you believe we’re on the same side?”

Here is “Etta James” from the duo’s last record:



Tour Dates 2018

Jul 6-8 – Winnipeg Folk Festival (Winnipeg, MB)
Aug 4 – Sweetland Amphitheatre (LaGrange, GA)
Aug 5 – The Pinhook (Durham, NC)
Aug 9 – The Station Inn (Nashville, TN)
Aug 15 – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3 (New York, NY)
Aug 16 – Club Passim (Boston, MA)
Aug 17-18 – Green Mountain Bluegrass & Roots Festival (Manchester, VT)
Aug 19 – Caffe Lena (Saratoga Springs, NY)



Read about the new release from duo 10 String Symphony




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Author: Rob Dickens

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